Awardees & Updates – 2020

2020 Jane Walentas Women’s Health Research Award

Molecularly Targeted Probes of Photodynamic Therapy in Breast Cancer.
Hans Schmitthenner, PhD, Associate Research Professor, Molecular Imaging, Rochester Institute of Technology

Photodynamic Therapy or PDT is a laser therapy currently used to treat certain cancers with marginal side effects. This study is to explore using this therapy to treat breast cancer as a safer alternative to current treatments like radiation.

2020 FWW Women’s Health Research Awards

Comparison of quality of life, sexual function, infertility, birth outcomes and long-term pouch function in women with Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) who underwent single vs. multiple stage ileoanal pouch surgery.
Rachel Winter, MD, MPH. Associate Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Instructor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, department of gastroenterology, hepatology & endoscopy

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases that affect many young women in childbearing age. If medication is not effective, women with severe disease may require a colectomy with or without a temporary diverting ileostomy until creation of an ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) commonly known as a J-pouch. Massachusetts General Hospital is a pioneer in the one stage procedure in which the colon is removed and the IPAA performed at the same operation. More commonly at other hospitals, the surgery is performed in two or three stages. This study is to determine the aforementioned factors in women who have undergone the one stage surgery or the multi-stage surgery to determine what is best for women’s long-term health and life outcomes.

Identifying urogenital microbiota that can degrade vaginal estrogen in postmenopausal women.
Nicole De Nisco, PhD. Assistant Professor, The University of Texas at Dallas, School of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, department of biological sciences

Postmenopausal women are disproportionately affected by urinary tract infections (UTI), which can become chronic and are currently treated with antibiotics. This study will test the urinary microbiome in postmenopausal women with different UTI histories and estrogen hormone therapy use to better assess estrogen degrading activity and mechanisms for establishing healthy microbiome to protect urinary tract health in this group.

Effect of flavonoids on SARS-CoV-2 replication.
Mohsan Saeed, PhD, Assistant Professor, department of biochemistry, Investigator, National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), Boston University School of Medicine

SARS-CoV-2 is the most consequential pathogen to afflict humanity since H1N1 caused the 1918 influenza pandemic. More therapeutics are needed to treat COVID19 which has significant sex differences in mortality rates. There is initial evidence indicating that flavonoids, which are highly enriched in fruits, vegetables and other natural products and whose use has no significant side effects, inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) critical to virus replication. This study will examine if flavonoids, and specifically which types, inhibit replication of the virus in a live essay for the purpose of possibly leading to a treatment.